Florham, N.Y - The St. Joseph's women's lacrosse team opened their 2014 season with a hard fought 10-8 victory over defending Freedom Conference Champions FDU-Florham. The win allowed the Golden Eagles to begin a season 1-0 for the first time in their three-year history.
Playing on a recently plowed field surrounded by tall snow mounds on all sides, the Lady Eagles and FDU Devils went up and down the field in the first ten minutes, with both sides taking shots that both goalies were able to save. It wasn't until 20:49 left in the half that junior Caitlynn Webber of St. Joseph's drove to goal, then stepped back and lofted a pass to sophomore Heather Ferchland, who one-timed it into the upper corner of the net. Five minutes later, following two SJC penalties, FDU capitalized on both free position shots to take a 2-1 lead. The Devils were then able to score another goal with 12:59 left as Brienna Reasoner scored on an assist from Courtney Rendinaro to forge ahead 3-1.
After gaining control on the ensuing draw, Coach Vlahakis called a time out to settle the troops, and the Golden Eagles then went on a five goal run to end the half up 6-3. SJC junior transfer Ela Igdeler got the ball to Webber who was trapped, but backed out of trouble and quickly turned, spotting Ferchland again on the crease and the Golden Eagles were back on the board. Just 14 seconds later, Igdeler controlled the draw and sped downfield, drawing multiple defenders and spotted wide open sophomore Danielle Dittmeier, who ripped a shot into the cage. After being down by two goals, the Eagles had taken only 1 minute and 31 seconds to come back and tie it at 3-3.
The defense dug in and freshman goalie Courtney Wickline made a few nice saves, then five minutes later Karalyn Tetelman drove hard to the cage, drawing a double-team, and immediately dished off to Ferchland behind the cage. Ferchland quickly hit senior Cait Halloran cutting right towards the crease and Halloran buried the shot for a 4-3 lead with 6:51 left in the half.
St. Joseph was controlling the play and spreading the offense wide, when Dittmeier flipped a pass to Igdeler, who dodged and weaved herself through several players before drilling a hard shot into the goal. With a minute left in the half, the Golden Eagles were again controlling outside, when Dittmeier sent it behind to Webber who attacked the crease and rolled outside away from the cage, putting in a difficult angled shot past the goalie. St. Joseph's took a 6-3 lead into halftime.
FDU came back with two goals to start the half, one off a free position shot and the other a catch and shoot goal from Noelle Shirey to Brianna Reasoner. With the score 6-5, St. Joseph's again took charge, scoring three goals in nine minutes to get some breathing room. After FDU cut it to 6-5, Lyman won the draw cleanly and flipped back to junior defenseman Amanda D'Onofrio who hit Ferchland in the middle and then she hit Jess Cordano who was out wide. Cordano fed a beautiful pass inside to Igdeler, who again weaved through multiple players and got off another bullet shot into the goal. Four beautiful, quick passes off the draw and in twenty seconds the lead was back to two goals at 7-5.
At 17:40, St. Joseph's was playing man down, when Webber went into a crowd to fight for a ground ball, and then spotted Ferchland in the center of the "8" with her back to the goal. Ferchland turned and saw sophomore Kristine Minogue wide open on the crease, where she caught the pass and turned around quickly to put the ball behind the surprised goalie. Then came the goal of the game for St. Joseph's as D'Onofrio stripped the attackman of the ball behind the cage, then got it to Wickline in the goal crease. The keeper quickly switched fields, hitting sophomore Ali Pavese with a long clearing pass to the opposite side. Pavese hit junior middie transfer Kacie Mitterando, who was racing up field and found Webber up ahead. Webber caught the pass in stride and calmly hit Tetelman streaking towards the cage. In one motion, Tetelman caught it and bounced the shot past the goalie to put SJC up 9-5 with 12:57 to play.
After five minutes of back and forth play producing no scoring, FDU made a last ditch effort to win the game. Joelle Manganella scored on a penalty shot at 7:16, then FDU came back 24 seconds later as Brianna Capobianco got a pass from Manganella to score again. One minute later, FDU was on the board again, as Manganella scored an unassisted goal. With 5:45 left, suddenly the Golden Eagles found themselves battling to stay ahead.
The Golden Eagles maintained control and FDU finally fouled Tetelman driving to goal. She lined up for the free position shot, took one step towards goal, and spotted sophomore transfer Tori Gregson streaking to goal from the left side and Gregson rifled in the final goal with 3:08 left. St. Joseph's was able to win the last draw and hold on to the ball, coming away with the victory, 10-8 over a very good FDU team.
Eight different Golden Eagles scored goals led by Ferchland with two goals and two assists. Igdeler had two goals and an assist, and Webber had one goal and three assists. Tetelman had a goal and an assist. Halloran, Minogue, Dittmeier, and Gregson each had a single goal. Courtney Wickline was credited with seven saves and allowed eight goals. FDU goalie Grace Warburton was credited with six saves while allowing 10 goals.
The Golden Eagles return to action to face their highest ranked opponent ever, Geneseo, this Saturday, March 1 at home at 11 a.m., weather permitting. Geneseo is the #10 nationally ranked Division III team.